Archive for the ‘3rd Sunday’ Category

God is Waiting to be Found. 4-14-2024

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

The disciples ran to Jerusalem with exciting news.
“We just saw Jesus,” they exclaimed.
The others crowded around to get the details. They all wanted to
know how he looked. And you would have thought that these two
people who had just seen Jesus would have remembered how he looked,
but they could not do it. What was wrong with them?
All they could say were things like:
“He looked like a father stretching out his hands to his prodigal son
and his older brother.”
“He looked like he did when he laid his hands on all the sick,
restoring them all to health.”
“He looked like he did when he took Jairus’s daughter by the hand
and brought her back to life.”
“He looked like the apostles when they distributed those five
loaves and two fishes to those five thousand hungry people.”
“He looked like the hemorrhaging woman who reached out her
hand and touched his cloak and was healed.”
“He looked like the woman who washed his feet with her perfume
and was blessed with his forgiveness and peace.”
“He looked like the widow with hands folded in prayer, seeking
justice from that corrupt judge.”
“He looked like he did on the night before he died when he took
bread and broke it saying, ‘This is my body to be given up for you. Do
this as a remembrance of me.’”
So this is how they described Jesus’ appearance. And every time
after that, whenever they saw hands reaching out to touch the lives of
others, they saw Jesus alive.
I close with this story: A little boy was playing hide-and-seek with
his friends. For some unknown reason they stopped playing while he
was hiding. He began to cry. His old grandfather came out of the house
to see what was troubling him and to comfort him. After learning what
had happened, the grandfather said, “Do not weep, my child, because the
boys did not come to find you. Perhaps you can learn a lesson from this disappointment. All of life is like a game between God and us. Only it
is God who is weeping, for we are not playing the game fairly. God is
waiting to be found, but many have gone in search of other things.”
In so many ways, the risen Christ is in our midst, present in the
love, charity and goodness of others, in the Sacrament of Eucharist, in
God’s Word – Broken and Shared, in the Community of Faith Filled
People and in moments of Grace and Prayer. Unfortunately, we often do
not realize it.
May our celebration open our hearts and spirits to recognize Christ
among us in every season of our life. “Lord, help us not to miss you.

One Family’s Church Connection 3-3-2024

Friday, February 23rd, 2024

The family settled in Maui where husband and dad Paul
Sutherland opened a new office for his company. Paul, Amy and
their kids became active members of a local church. The church’s
warm welcome and the satisfaction they found in volunteering
made the family’s church membership a wonderful experience.
Then one morning Paul got a call at his office. Amy was
hemorrhaging at 26 weeks of pregnancy. She was transferred by
air ambulance to a hospital in Oahu, where she would spend the
next eight weeks. Paul called friends asking if they could pick up
their boys from school and watch them until Amy’s parents flew in
from Michigan. “No problem!” was their immediate reply.
The first full day in the hospital, their pastor called and
offered the church’s help. How did the pastor know the family
was in Oahu? A parishioner saw them at the local hospital in Maui
before flying to Oahu.
Paul remembers: “When Amy was stable enough for me to
return to Maui, I thanked my in-laws for taking care of the kids,
but when I mentioned cooking, my mother-in-law stopped me and
said, “We didn’t have to cook much”, she smiled, “Nearly every
day, the (school) families and your church brought us dinners,
baked bread, desserts, and salad”. Our school parents and church
group seemed instinctively wired to scan for people in need. They
knew we ‘mainlanders’ had few roots on the island. They helped
us because we showed up.
Their Hawaiian church experience has had a lasting effect on
Paul and his family. In every place they have lived since, the
family has made a connection with a local church.
“Thinking something is not doing something”, Paul writes.
“Thinking we are virtuous or accepting or colorblind builds no
houses nor does it feed anybody, nor cure loneliness. Our actions
are what define us. We connect by showing up – to find that we
share so many threads to bind us together in relationships and
connections. We see the similarities and build on them”.
The Sutherlands’ story is lived again and again at churches
around the world – but it’s that care for one another that makes a
community a church worthy of the name. To create that
connection requires “driving out” the fears and cynicism, the self-
centered agendas and the debilitating judgments we make of others
to realize the presence of God in the midst of this community.
Jesus’ cleansing of the temple challenges us to realize that our
parish “temple” is called to reflect God’s Kingdom of compassion
and peace, healing and justice, in this community. Everything we
do as a parish, from our music to doughnuts after Mass, from
Religious Ed to the quilters’ group, is the revelation of God’s love
– and becoming that kind of church begins by “showing up” and
contributing to the working of revealing that love in our midst.

The First Disciples of Jesus 1-21-2024

Monday, December 18th, 2023

The time was now. Jesus decided he was ready to choose his
twelve apostles. Just advertising in the newspapers didn’t seem
thorough enough. So, Jesus decided to hold an Olympics from which
the twelve would be chosen. The people came from all over. The
competition was fierce. Jesus had to judge all the events.
First came the prayer event. People had practiced and it showed in
the speed with which they could recite the words. Some articulated the
words with utmost precision. Some used big impressive words. Still
others expressed lofty ideas. But when it came time for a winner to be
selected, Jesus chose none. There didn’t seem to be any heart in their
prayers. They were just words.
Second came the worship event. These contestants, too, had done
their homework. Some wore beautiful garments. Some used lots of
incense. Some emphasized music. Others incorporated gestures. But
again, when it was selection time, there was no winner. There didn’t
seem to be any heart in worship. It was too showy.
Third came the teaching event. This was a prepared group. Some
came with elaborate posters. Some came with long, well ordered talks.
Some came with DVD players. Others came with their small groups to
demonstrate process. Again, no winners. There was no heart in
teaching. The methods seemed more important.
So, the Olympics ended. No winners, no apostles. Exhausted after
his long exasperating ordeal, Jesus went down to the lake to cool off and
relax. Then the miracle happened. He saw people fishing. Now there
were some people who put their hearts into what they were about. So he
chose them!
Remember… the first disciples of Jesus were ordinary people.
They weren’t great public speakers, scholars, kings or saints. They
weren’t presidents, theologians or ordained ministers. They were
fishermen. A tax collector. Common field workers. Who, by God’s
power, and their openness, made great things happen! What about us –
Could great things happen through us? Yes — By God’s Power and Our